Ms. EDDIE BERNICE JOHNSON of Texas. Mr. Speaker, there is an unprecedented effort by the GOP to deprive millions of Americans of their right to vote. Proponents of these efforts to suppress the electorate continue to grossly exaggerate the threat of voter fraud, in hopes of excluding select groups of eligible voters from the polls, and thus swaying the election in their favor.
In 2002, President Bush launched an aggressive 5-year campaign to crack down on voter fraud. The end result was a mere 86 convictions out of the 122 million people who voted during the 2004 Presidential election. There is no evidence to suggest that these facts have changed, and certainly not to the degree in which it is being touted by the Republicans. It is clear that the only reason why overly burdensome voter laws are being adopted is to exclude the elderly, our youth, minorities, and the poor from casting their ballots.
Nationally, an estimated 21 million American citizens do not possess a government-issued photo ID. Under these restrictive laws, that is potentially 21 million Americans who will be excluded from the democratic process. In states like Texas, where millions of individuals live in rural areas and without easy access to ID-issuing offices, the costs are even higher. Millions more stand to be excluded, as voter suppression continues far beyond requiring specific forms of identification.
Mr. Speaker, we must prevent these regressive policies from becoming law if we are to preserve the integrity of the electoral process for all Americans. Fourteen states have already passed restrictive voting laws. This deceptive practice has already gone too far, and I refuse to allow history to repeat itself in what is a direct attack on our democracy, and the American people.